Developer takes cautious approach to housing in Terrace, B.C.

Complex, which will include affordable housing, to be built in stages

PLANS for a 105-unit apartment complex in the Horseshoe area have been refined by the company planning to build it.

Back in January, the city hand-picked Coast to Coast Holdings, a Calgary-based housing developer financed by Quebec investment firm ROI Land Investment, from a list of bidders wanting to purchase the centrally-located 2.4 acre section of land owned by the city at 3304 Kenney St. on the corner of Kenney and Park.

Coast to Coast paid $951,000 for the property, in excess of an evaluation ordered by the city.

The development was viewed by the city as a solution to Terrace’s dire lack of rental housing both for market-priced housing and more affordable housing for middle income earners as the company agreed to the city’s condition that any development must include at least 20 per cent of its units offered at an affordable rate — 22 out of the 105 total units.

Over the course of 2013 and into 2014, the city has grappled with a vacancy rate hovering around zero and soaring housing prices stemming from current and projected large-scale industrial developments in the region. The city has responded by attempting to tie in affordable housing agreements with land it has been selling to developers.

Since the sale to Coast to Coast, the city hammered out a special 14-page bylaw, adopted by council this summer, outlining the details of the affordable housing component tied to the sale of city land to the company.

On Monday, a development permit was before council to allow Coast to Coast to begin building the first section of what it is now saying is a development that will happen in stages. The company is planning to proceed with the construction of a 24-unit complex divided between two buildings with a total of four apartments rented at affordable rates.

“The 105-unit apartment is still planned, however, it will be conditional on supply and demand and market responsiveness,” said Coast to Coast spokesperson Kim Gregoire. “We are lifting one project at a time and we will adjust according to market needs.”

Despite the slower approach, the twin 12-room apartment buildings are still considered significant to the community.

City officials, in the application for Coast to Coast’s development permit, noted it will be “the only apartment development to be constructed in Terrace since the 1980s.”

While as of late last week, ground had not been broken at the 105-unit site, Coast to Coast has begun building an eight-unit luxury townhouse development immediately north of the location along Kenney on a privately-held lot it also purchased this year.

Last month, city planner David Block said he was waiting to see plans for amenities that would be included in the large development — landscaping, a small park or gathering area, which are mandated in Terrace’s Official Community Plan.

Currently Coast to Coast says it is focusing on construction and not amenities.

“As for any amenities, we are currently focusing on the actual buildings and nothing else is planned,” said Gregoire.

The drawings submitted do include landscaping, with trees to border the two buildings, a 1.8 metre sidewalk along the Kenney frontage and a pedestrian walkway leading to Davis in the back, and 36 parking spaces.

The two buildings in the first phase are to be three storeys high with four apartment units per floor and construction is slated by September with a tentative completion date of mid-December. Other buildings in future phases will be 16 and 20 room complexes.